Chrome for Android goes 64-bit to improve performance

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Google Chrome for Android is making the jump from 32-bit to 64-bit architecture – a move which comes a full six years since Android itself started to support 64-bit apps and which should ensure improved security and performance in the mobile browser.

As spotted by Android Police, the release logs for the upcoming Chrome 85 show the switch is imminent (we're currently on Chrome 83 if you're using the stable version on your phone, though the progression shouldn't take too long).

In terms of the end user experience, you won't really see any change while using Chrome on your Android device. The upgrade to 64-bit should ensure improved efficiency and better performance under the hood though, as well as tighter security.

The change won't be rolling out for everyone, however – the 64-bit version of Google Chrome will only be available to those running Android 10 or later, so you might have to wait for a software update on your phone before you can take advantage of Google's behind-the-scenes upgrade.

Bits and pieces

According to Android Police, some users are seeing the 64-bit version of the browser appear in an update to the beta version of Chrome 84, though this doesn't seem to apply to everyone, and there doesn't appear to be any reliable way of forcing it to happen.

The vast majority of smartphones now come running 64-bit processors, and Google is requiring all apps to have support for 64-bit architecture by August 2021. Android 5.0 Lollipop, launched back in 2014, was the first to support 64-bit.

Apple, meanwhile, has been making 64-bit apps mandatory since the arrival of iOS 11 in 2017, though with more control over the hardware devices running iOS and the software available on it, it's a little easier for Apple to do.

Essentially, 64-bit apps on 64-bit processors mean more data can be handled and more can be done with that data at once. With some apps the difference may not be too noticeable, but 64-bit is definitely preferable – so it's good to see Chrome making the switch in the near future.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.